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Given that sailing and racing with limited crew (as of now, you can only sail with household members in san diego), I'm going to put an autopilot on my E 35. Considering Pelagic or perhaps Simrad. 

Not looking for a miracle, just something for local sailing and it would be nice if the thing could tack and sail a bit.

Thoughts?

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If you're driving that E-35 with the tiller, then the Pelagic is a good buy.  I had a bad experience, but that's just me. Everybody else that I know, loves them and they are a knockout deal for the $$.

...though I just saw that they have a below-decks option now.  I don't know anything about it.

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Gold plated option is NKE, but on a budget to cover for you while you have a crap etc I highly recommend a TP32, works fine as a stand alone (mine is 8 years old and still mint) but can hook into your N2k and get chartplotter (B&G) IMU or GPS data from it.  

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If you have to have the pilot talk to the wind sensor, and then the database in Sailing Heaven, and use the most up-to-date algorithms downloaded onto the control head computer to calculate VOG based on the heeled underwater profile of your boat with measured sea-state, and then refined for predicted online weather,  then by all means buy an NKE.

 

If you want to make the Ericson e5 go in a forward direction towards the islands or up the coast while you have a beer in the cockpit and the lady changes some tunes on the radio, then do you really need all that?  Pelagic.  $850 +/-  vs $1500 for the RayMarine  vs God Only Knows for the NKE.

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I've been very happy with the Pelagic.
I have found though that a decent autohelm exposes a lot of weak links in the system, I've had to substantially reinforce the tiller bracket & the mounting point for the autohelm arm itself, the existing ones onboard that had been fine for years with an old Autohelm 1000 just weren't up to the task of an autohelm that can get used in anything other than perfect conditions, the slop in the system really affects the ability of the autohelm to steer a good course.

If you want a spare actuator for it you can get the cheap from well known Chinese import sites, and they're basically identical to what's fitted. I was happy to pay import & full price for the system when buying new, but for spares I'm happy to go to source.

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On 8/14/2020 at 6:02 PM, Editor said:

That's kinda where i'm leaning. Let that fucking thing steer that heavy tiller-ed pig!

I agree. Just get a used Raymarine ST2000 ($500). Wire it straight to the battery with inline fuse (and toggle switch if you want). 

no need for anything fancy, under deck or gyro like some of these guys are mentioning. that’s ridiculously way too much for what you want to do. 

it’s funny to see someone recommended a bang 5000 autopilot. You realize you are talking several thousand dollars and complex install right?

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2 hours ago, jsam31 said:

I agree. Just get a used Raymarine ST2000 ($500). Wire it straight to the battery with inline fuse (and toggle switch if you want). 

no need for anything fancy, under deck or gyro like some of these guys are mentioning. that’s ridiculously way too much for what you want to do. 

it’s funny to see someone recommended a bang 5000 autopilot. You realize you are talking several thousand dollars and complex install right?

I bought a new pilot, but this is exactly how I have mine set up.  If I get wild 'n crazy I might wire it back to the panel, but that would mean replacing the panel, since I'm out of switches there...and then I'd feel like I had to rewire ~everything~...ugh.

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Get the Pelagic, even if you don't want something that can safely surf waves with the kite up, its going to make the sailing experience so much better than a St1000 or TP32.

It come with a remote, which you won't believe how much you will use, they are pretty low cost and its way better built than anything else less than $5k.

anyone telling you to "just get st1000" has never experienced a pilot that can actually sail a boat. Search the site for Pelagic, there is some good stuff there.

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5 hours ago, BOI Guy said:

anyone telling you to "just get st1000" has never experienced a pilot that can actually sail a boat. Search the site for Pelagic, there is some good stuff there.

BOI Guy,

Read the original post again: "Not looking for a miracle, just something for local sailing and it would be nice if the thing could tack and sail a bit."

Therefore, I can guarantee that the ST2000 (Ericson 35 is too heavy for the 1000) is MORE than enough.

....and by the way, to answer your post, I have experience sailing across the Atlantic twice and to Hawaii once all single handed, in addition to more offshore sailing where the pilot is a must have on the boat. In my opinion, nke is still best in class...but for "local sailing" a used ST2000 is going to be perfect.

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So. Cal. is remarkably benign concerning stormy weather and big sea states so an ST2000 (cheep) would do the job 95% of the time.  But it's only rated to 10,000lbs displacement so technically an EV-100 (13,200lbs) is right for your 14,000lb pig  but they are pricey  and overkill for your boat.  I'd recommend a Pelagic tillerpilot if you're contemplating voyages to Central America or the South Pacific.  If you can get your mitts on a lightly used ST-4000+ or ST-4000+ GP (discontinued) that would be sweet.  A simple cheep used Raymarine/AutoHelm should do the job considering your scenario.  Consider getting a  remote control so you can sit wherever you want or control things when at the mast, down below, etc.   

I have an ST-2000 that I've moderately used for 20 years (500 hours) and a backup ST-4000+  only used in lumpy windy weather.  The ST-4000+ actually oilcans the cockpit hull pin mount when it's angry; I figure flexing fiberglass is less damaging than hammering the linear drive motor.  Best thing about a simple tiller pilot is it's stored down below when not in use and unlike underdeck ram pilots doesn't clog up the lazarette with machinery and major  rework of the rudder tube/shaft.

Really Scot you're overthinking this.  Get a  cheap Raymarine pilot, install it in a coupla' hours and enjoy the ride in typical 6-12kn winds and light seas on your trips to Catalina.  BTW if you boat has excessive helm using surgical tubing to approximately  balance the helm *before*  dropping the  ram onto the tiller pin will make the tiller pilot much happier.

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The time you really want a reliable autopilot is on a cold rainy night with a big following swell.

Once had to hand steer a boat all night down the NSW coast because the Ray ST 4000 tillerpilot couldn’t handle the swell and the spare ST 2000 unwound itself.

Made it to Hobart in a 10,000 lb 30 footer with four broken Ray autopilots, was sitting in a cafe in Eden near the dock with a new Ray unit in its box on the table, inside half an hour four guys had come up and asked if I repaired Raymarine Gear.

My recent Valiant 40 came with two Ray autopilots, I had to repair both, did it myself because all the Ray tech guys did was try to sell me a replacement. I now have a Pelagic system in a box, waiting for borders to open so I can get to the boat and instal it.

I have a box in the shed full of broken Ray stuff ...

if you must get a stand alone tillerpilot, try to find a Simrad 32.

 

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Guys, the Ed has bought a nice cushy ericson 35 and is pimping it out to sail in Southern California, up the coast a bit, and out to Catalina with his lady. Maybe he'll get wild and crazy and do a doublehanded race or two...or race the boat around S Dago Bay in some Beer Cans. Cool.

He's not sailing down 20 foot swells in the Bass Strait, or cruising to the Aleutian Islands.   He just needs the autopilot to drive the boat straight ahead, more or less,  in moderate conditions.  If it's snotty, he'll hand steer for the few hours it takes to get to a harbor. If he's racing, he'll have 5 buddies on board.

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1 minute ago, Alan H said:

Guys, the Ed has bought a nice cushy ericson 35 and is pimping it out to sail in Southern California, up the coast a bit, and out to Catalina with his lady. Maybe he'll get wild and crazy and do a doublehanded race or two...or race the boat around S Dago Bay in some Beer Cans. Cool.

He's not sailing down 20 foot swells in the Bass Strait, or cruising to the Aleutian Islands.   He just needs the autopilot to drive the boat straight ahead, more or less,  in moderate conditions.  If it's snotty, he'll hand steer for the few hours it takes to get to a harbor. If he's racing, he'll have 5 buddies on board.

I will be happy to hook him up with a $15K nke pack (complete with autopilot), but as per my original post, I am sure Ed's boat will do just fine with a second hand ST2000, or 4000 if he wants to be crazy ;-)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Simrad TP 22

Half the price of the Pelagic, can connect it to a B&G MFD and use that to control it, send waypoints, etc. Most bang for your buck. 

Of course all these tiller pilots really suck as you have to connect/disconnect them from the tiller themselves when you want to use them. 

Or get a hydraulic NKE / B&G 5000 and save yourself the hassle of this problem, although your wallet may not agree!

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/14/2020 at 6:45 PM, Editor said:

Given that sailing and racing with limited crew (as of now, you can only sail with household members in san diego), I'm going to put an autopilot on my E 35. Considering Pelagic or perhaps Simrad. 

Not looking for a miracle, just something for local sailing and it would be nice if the thing could tack and sail a bit.

Thoughts?

Simrad.  I have the NAC2, Ap44 for the user control and am using a raymarine drive.  Works flawlessly on a Sunfast 3300.  The Simrad intergrates perfectly with the B&G system.  Will tack and gybe the boat fine.  Also steers to the wind nicely if that is what you want.  Install a below deck unit so it is out of the way and and always ready to use. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/18/2020 at 11:44 AM, jsam31 said:

I agree. Just get a used Raymarine ST2000 ($500). Wire it straight to the battery with inline fuse (and toggle switch if you want). 

no need for anything fancy, under deck or gyro like some of these guys are mentioning. that’s ridiculously way too much for what you want to do. 

it’s funny to see someone recommended a bang 5000 autopilot. You realize you are talking several thousand dollars and complex install right?

what I use on my j35.

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On 8/20/2020 at 3:20 PM, toad said:

seems that a clever person could get an arduino and an ali express actuator, crowdsource a bit of code and rent a bit of 3d printer time, come up with a pretty good diy tillerpilot for under $200. 

 

operative keyword there being "clever" ;)

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Anyone have proof that the Pelagic is truly weatherproof? Like put it in a bucket of water for a day cycling in and out? Ya know, simulating a beat up Baja? I know the Raymarine dildo is especially designed to suck in seawater every time it extends. Early ones had a bronze bearing screwed to the aluminum shaft. Exciting electro-chemistry there! They fixed that. But not the water sucking. I contemplated drilling a couple of holes in bottom to let the seawater out. Oh yeah, also the Lucas Electric connector.

Might be perfect for dry windless flat San Diego. :-)

I have a Raymarine ST4000+ display, compass, and two dildo drives if anyone sends enough beer money to make it worthwhile to drag them to the UPS Store. Or come by the Monterey Marina. There is a S1 Tiller (no gyro) drive box too, but no display for it.

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I have had Raymarine ST1000+ and ST2000+ tiller pilots. I have used them for Thousands of hours. They are okay when water fairly flat and wind is below 15 Kts. They cannot drive a straight line unless you constantly change the gain and damper settings when conditions change. For an autopilot less then $500 they can do some cooling things like follow tracks from a plotter and sail to apparent wind angles. They are more reactive then predictive, It only knows "I need to go left or I need to go right". Like a beginner on the helm.

  • They work well under power in all conditions.
  • Cant drive fast downwind, starts doing S turns, always ends up in multi-able gybe's then a knock down.
  • Will try to get you killed in shit conditions.
  • Probably the best booze cruise autopilot for the price.
  • Works well for single hand, light air, beer can races.

 

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On 10/16/2020 at 11:15 AM, El Boracho said:

Anyone have proof that the Pelagic is truly weatherproof? Like put it in a bucket of water for a day cycling in and out? Ya know, simulating a beat up Baja? I know the Raymarine dildo is especially designed to suck in seawater every time it extends. Early ones had a bronze bearing screwed to the aluminum shaft. Exciting electro-chemistry there! They fixed that. But not the water sucking. I contemplated drilling a couple of holes in bottom to let the seawater out. Oh yeah, also the Lucas Electric connector.

Might be perfect for dry windless flat San Diego. :-)

I have a Raymarine ST4000+ display, compass, and two dildo drives if anyone sends enough beer money to make it worthwhile to drag them to the UPS Store. Or come by the Monterey Marina. There is a S1 Tiller (no gyro) drive box too, but no display for it.

Seems like everyone who uses a tillerpilot has a backup plan. You can buy spare rams for the Palegic. Others keep spare tillerpilots down below for a quick swap.  But I've had enough below deck autopilots die on me that I wish they also had spares aboard. 

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On 10/16/2020 at 5:15 PM, El Boracho said:

Anyone have proof that the Pelagic is truly weatherproof? Like put it in a bucket of water for a day cycling in and out? Ya know, simulating a beat up Baja? I know the Raymarine dildo is especially designed to suck in seawater every time it extends. Early ones had a bronze bearing screwed to the aluminum shaft. Exciting electro-chemistry there! They fixed that. But not the water sucking. I contemplated drilling a couple of holes in bottom to let the seawater out. Oh yeah, also the Lucas Electric connector.

Might be perfect for dry windless flat San Diego. :-)

I have a Raymarine ST4000+ display, compass, and two dildo drives if anyone sends enough beer money to make it worthwhile to drag them to the UPS Store. Or come by the Monterey Marina. There is a S1 Tiller (no gyro) drive box too, but no display for it.

The pelagic arm & motor are separate, so it should be much much better.

I won't claim to have dunked mine, but its survived plenty of rain storms.

 

 

 

IMG_20180725_122305.jpg

IMG_20180725_122317.jpg

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  • 5 months later...

I’ve got a EV-100 lying around here somewhere that’s had fuck all use wirh a ST4000 ram , either bit or all is yours for half the price of whatever they are now. 

 

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The connection is the only thing I don't like about the Pelagic. A lot of leverage on a plastic fitting waiting to get snapped at the most inopportune time. I've used both the ST4000 ram and the Pelagic and can't really detect any difference in performance when they are both operating as intended. You aren't going to see either of them in the Vendee Globe though.

IMG_20180725_122305.jpg

The plastic in the Raymarine didn't survive well either though. Had a guy make me up an aluminum replacement that I have yet to try. Hopefully it'll work for my backup.

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buy a new Simrad 32 or Raymarine 2000 with small lithium 12v battery with a fused installed wire.  Separate and complete from other systems. get 3 inexpensive batteries if you are going to sail all week otherwise you just need 2. A simple rolled small solar charger can top off the batteries if you decide you need more offshore.  weighs less than the more expensive proposed units and much likely less power consuming. Most importantly - no large holes in cockpit, little installation time and rapid setup.  adding a powerful expensive unit when you aren't proposing a sail across the ocean is an unwarrented upgrade nor does it add value when you sell the boat. Also the batteries can be used to charge handheld radio, iphone or inreach gps when other systems are down.

My new Simrad with 2 batteries cost me 700. Now I can take the unit along to any tillered boat that I plan to sail or asked to help crew. something few think about - flexable portability.

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The trickiest thing I've found with ALL tiller pilots, regardless of brand is eliminating free play from the system. 

In my picture above I'm mounted into the aft cockpit cover which is just a drop in thing. This moves a little bit from port to starboard when the autopilot is working hard, then there is play in the pin on the aluminum tiller bracket and the tiller bracket itself isn't the stiffest thing in the world. It all adds up and makes the autopilot work harder than it needs to. 
One of my tasks this year is eliminate as much of that as possible. 

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